Remembered Kisses: Chapter 21: Glimpses and Ghosts

Chapter 21: Glimpses and Ghosts

Sam’s classes dragged by.  He was exhausted, and every minute seemed to take a lifetime. When he finally got out it was late afternoon and he rushed out of the classroom. The sun was bright on the quad, and for once there was little fog, but it was bitterly cold. He hurried, thinking about all the things he had to do before patrol, and almost ran straight into Kennedy.

“Whoa there, Gandalf,” she said, her bright violet lips twisting into a grin.  “Try not to run over me, all right?”

“Kennedy,” he replied, flashing her a busy smile.  “How are you?”

She pushed back her hair, currently worn down and wild and electric blue, and pressed her tongue against her piercing as she gave him a look.  “Oh you know.  Hearing the voices of the dead and damned, being warned about a colony of spiders making a nest in the lighthouse, taking care of my little sister.  The usual.”

She gestured with her head, and Sam saw a girl barely older than ten skateboarding along one of the concrete retaining walls.  She was in a baggy New Tamsbridge Narwhals sweat shirt, torn-up blue jeans, and a sparkly purple helmet.  “Your sister?”  He asked.

“My sister.”

His gaze swept back to Kennedy. “I’m not surprised.  So.  Spiders.”

She blew a bubble.  “Yup,” she said.  “I figured you’d want to know.  They’re trapping ghosts in the webs.  None of the other ghosts quite know what’s happening to them.”

“That’s terrifying,” Sam said.  “I’ve run into some of the spiders already.  They basically built a whole colony while no one was looking.”  Why was no one looking?  Marcus where’s your head?

Kennedy chewed thoughtfully. “Well.  They’re pretty scared.  Which considering they’re already dead is kind of a big deal.”

“Scared? That doesn’t make any sense. Ghosts don’t get scared.  They’re all burdened with terrible purpose, not…”

“You’re beginning to sound like Professor Ling. What she doesn’t know about ghosts could fill a library.  Listen.  She might have the book learning, but I actually talk to them.  They are terrified.”  She blew another bubble.  It went pop.  “Trust me.”

Sam sighed.  “Okay.  They’re scared.  That’s weird, but I believe you.”

The small girl came up, pulling off her helmet and shaking out a wild mane of coal-black hair.  “Hey Kennedy, did you see me?  I was grinding like whoa!”

“I saw,” said Kennedy.  “Hey, squirt.  Meet Sam.  He’s a mage.  Sam, this is Kaitlyn.”

“Hi there,” Sam said, flashing the girl a grin.  “I saw you shredding some sweet moves too.”

The girl rolled immense green eyes and looked at her older sister. “He’s a mage? You mean like Gandalf?”

“Exactly.”  She took her sister’s hand.  “All right, Sam.  We’re going to get some lunch and head home.”

Sam waved and finished leaving, heading straight to Kendra’s old place.

* * *

Marcus was just locking the door as Sam walked up.  “Ready for patrol?” Sam asked.  Marcus looked over at him.  There were heavy rings under Marcus’s eyes, his hair was  mess, and he smelled of cheap cigarettes.  Marcus nodded, “Yeah, Sam,” he said, his voice hoarse.  “I’m ready.”

“Right,” Sam said, gestured with his head, and they started walking.  “Do you stay at her house often?” Sam asked.

“Lately,” Marcus said.  “I keep hearing things.  I thought getting closer would help me find out what it was. Or hear it better.  Or at least feel closer to her. You know?”

“I get it.  I think.”  Twilight turned to night, the light fading quickly. They walked together through the park. It was their usual tandem patrol, though it had been some time since they had done it together. The night was dark, and the fog had grown thick again.  No rain troubled their patrol tonight. “Marcus,” Sam said after a while, “We have a problem.”

“Other than the vampires?”

“Yes,” Sam said.  “Though they’ve been quiet for a few weeks.  Gone to ground even more than usual.”

“Yeah,” Marcus said. “I bet they have.”

Sam gave gun a sharp look. “Marcus there are spiders all over the area near the lighthouse.  I’ve heard about how bad it is, and I’ve seen it myself now.  I was almost killed by them last night.”
Marcus stopped. “What?”

“It’s your turf.  You should know.”

He looked shocked.  “I…”

“You’ve not been patrolling.  Or if you have, you haven’t been paying attention.”  Sam put a hand on his shoulder.  “The infestation.  It’s very bad. It’s even entrapping ghosts.”

Marcus shook his head in disbelief.

“Marcus.  This isn’t like you.”

“It’s Kendra, Sam.  I’m sorry.  I’ve been dug into research trying to figure out what happened, trying to reach her. Trying to talk to her.”

“Has it worked at all?”

“Yes,” Marcus said.  “I’ve heard her voice.  It's stronger now; stronger than ever before.”

Sam gave him a worried look. “Marcus, this is a big deal.  We need to do something about it.”

“What do you want me to do, Sam?”  His voice was desperate.  “I can’t think of anything else but Kendra, I can’t…”

“I need you with me,” Sam said.  “I’m not mad.  I’m worried.  In a few days, we’re going to make a move, and I need your power with mine.  We’re going to hit the Lighthouse and we’re going to hit it hard.  With Pallas, a few of her friends, and John.  And anyone else we can manage.”

“All right,” Marcus said.  “I’ll try.”

“I need you to more than try,” Sam said.  “I need you ready to go, right?  This is going to be a thing, and it’s going to be dangerous.”

Marcus nodded.  “I’ll be ready.  I won’t let you down.  And Sam?”

Sam raised an eyebrow.

“Thanks for not being mad.  I just miss Kendra, is all.”

“Grief comes for us all,” Sam said.  “I just want to keep it from swallowing you whole. I’ve got your back.”  He gave his apprentice a hug.  “Come on.  Let’s get a burger and talk about what spells you’ll need ready.”

After they passed deeper into the park, the fog where they had stood began to move. For a moment, there shape of a lost, lonely girl lingered, reaching an ethereal hand towards Marcus’s retreating back.  The wind picked up, the fog shifted, and it was gone, but the ghost of Marcus’s whispered name was still carried through the trees after him.


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